One of the most redeeming aspects of spending winter months bundled up and out of the cold, is the satisfaction of staying cozy with a warm drink. In the same way that countries adopt certain recipes as their national dishes, each nation around the globe has a traditional “comfort” drink. Utilizing local flavours and fusion, each recipe reflects the country’s history and cultural landscape. The following is a guide to help any traveler live a local experience when dining abroad. Read about seven comforting drinks around the world below.
Morocco: Mint Tea
Among a sea of spice and flavour, mint tea has been Morocco’s longstanding national beverage. This drink is known to be offered in nearly every home and store, and is often seen as a symbol of peace and hospitality. Moroccan mint tea is made with great care and attention to detail, and generally follows a more complex, ceremonial method of preparation. Following the outline of a traditional recipe, this beverage is made with loose Chinese gunpowder green tea, sugar (or sugar cubes) and copious amounts of fresh mint—an herb that is plentiful in this region. It is also customary to keep the teapot high above the cup while pouring, in order to aerate the tea.
Seeing as how dairy is a cornerstone of the Dutch diet, it should come as no surprise that one of the nation’s signature drinks is milk-based. Anijsmelk is a soothing, traditional drink, made from steamed milk and anise. This unique and pungent herb infuses the milk with a sharp, black licorice flavour. To finish the preparation of this drink, one must add a dash of sugar and give the mixture a decent stir. By following these three simple steps, anyone can stay warm and recreate this comforting drink at home.
Argentina: Yerba Maté
Although it’s no secret that yerba maté has become an international love affair, nothing compares to Argentina’s affinity with this caffeinated drink. According to a study recorded by the National Institute of Yerba Maté, an annual average of 100 litres is consumed by each citizen, and over 90% of the nation has it in their home. With its sacred reputation, this herb has captivated the hearts of Argentines for generations. To experience this beverage’s antioxidants and stimulating properties, the leaves and stems of the plant must be dried, roasted over a fire and then broken down for consumption. In Argentina, maté is traditionally served warm with a bombilla—a straw specifically used for this drink.
Bolivia: Api Morado
This local Bolivian secret is an incredible elixir to drink on cold days. Typically made from purple corn flour, water, cinnamon, cloves, orange zest and sugar, Api Morado is the traditional drink of Bolivia. It is also usually accompanied by buñuelos—a popular Bolivian treat made from fried, spongy dough. Fresh buñuelos and api can be found in street markets throughout the country.
Over the years, matcha has infiltrated cafes and homes on a global scale. This smooth and mellow drink is made from specifically grown and processed green tea leaves that are ground into powder. For centuries, matcha has been used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, also known as Chanoyu. Today, this soul-soothing beverage can be found in any local coffee shop, but seldom compares to that which can be found in Japan. In Japan, matcha is more than a drink. It is an experience.
Bicerin is a traditional hot drink native to Turin, but can also be found throughout Italy. In 2001, this exquisitely simple combination of high-quality chocolate, coffee and cream, was officially recognized as a traditional Turin drink. The original recipe is kept by the Caffè Confetteria Al Bicerin, where it was first created and named. Lastly, it is said that the best way to enjoy Bicerin is to avoid mixing it. This way, the flavours come together directly on the palate.
7. Mexico: Champurrado
On colder winter mornings in Mexico, it is common to find cups of atole and champurrado on the dining table. Atole is a traditional hot corn and masa-based beverage. Adding chocolate to this mixture transforms the atole into a cup of champurrado—thus making champurrado chocolate-based atole. Traditionally, champurrado is made with Mexican chocolate, water, milk and various spices such as cinnamon and anise. The cornflour and masa give this drink a thick, hearty texture, making it a perfect option for chilly weather.
By: Briahna McTigue
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